• The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, reversing the NLRB, ruled that Jackson Hospital Corp. did not commit an unfair labor practice in violation of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) when it placed a nurse, Frances Combs, who was active in the local union on “investigatory suspension” because she refused to participate in a disciplinary meeting with supervisors without a union representative present. The court found there was no evidence to support the conclusion that anti-union animus motivated the supervisors who suspended Combs. Further, the court found Combs possessed no Weingarten right to have a union representative present because the supervisors had already decided to impose a verbal warning and the meeting was intended solely to deliver that warning. Jackson Hosp. Corp. d/b/a Ky. River Med. Ctr. v. NLRB.
  • The Wisconsin Supreme Court held (ruling 4-3) that Republican state lawmakers, who passed legislation to strip most state workers of collective bargaining rights, were within their constitutional right because they did not violate open meeting statutes. In March, the Republican controlled legislature removed the collective bargaining provisions from the budget bill and passed them as stand-alone legislation with a simple majority. After the bill was signed into law, Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne filed suit, arguing that Republicans had approved it without necessary 24-hour notice. The Dane County Circuit Court agreed and struck down the law for violating open meeting statutes. The state’s Supreme Court overruled and found that there was no constitutional requirement that lawmakers must obey provisions in open meetings laws. State of Wisconsin ex rel. Ismael R. Ozanne v. Jeff Fitzgerald et al., and State of Wisconsin ex rel. v. Circuit Court of Dane County et al.
  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia held that the NLRB properly concluded that New York & Presbyterian Hospital bargained in bad faith with the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) when it failed to respond to the union’s information requests about nurse practitioners employed on the hospital’s premises but who were not classified as its employees. In 2004, NYSNA suspected that nonunion nurse practitioners were performing work that the NYSNA bargaining unit employees normally handled. The union requested information about the nurse practitioners, and filed a grievance under its collective bargaining agreement with New York-Presbyterian as well as an unfair labor practice charge with the NLRB. The hospital resisted producing the information. New York & Presbyterian Hosp. v. NLRB.
  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit enforced a NLRB back pay order in favor of two New Jersey warehouse company employees fired in 1999. The court rejected the company’s argument that the fired employees failed to mitigate damages by diligently seeking comparable employment. Instead, the court found that an employee’s procurement of temporary work, continued search for permanent work even when temporarily employed, and subsequent efforts to find a job amounted to a reasonably diligent effort to locate employment. NLRB v. St. George Warehouse Inc.
  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit revived Verizon New England Inc.’s lawsuit claiming that the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) violated a collective bargaining agreement by picketing and refusing to transport tools. Verizon sued the union in April 2009, accusing the IBEW of violating the collective bargaining agreement by banning members from accepting management positions with the company, holding protests outside a company building and refusing to transport work equipment between job sites. Verizon New England Inc. v. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local No. 2322.
  • A unanimous NLRB ruled that employees who suffer losses because of a unilateral change should be made whole, even if their union decides not to seek an NLRB remedy requiring a return to the status quo that existed before the employer’s unfair labor practices. In 2003 and 2005, Goya Foods unilaterally replaced its health plans without giving UNITE HERE, the certified bargaining representative of two units since 1998, advance notice or an opportunity to bargain. UNITE HERE filed unfair labor practice charges alleging that the employer’s action violated its duty to bargain. The Board affirmed the ALJ’s finding that Goya violated the NLRA and ordered make-whole relief for the Goya employees. Goya Foods of Fla.
  • The NLRB Acting Regional Director for Region 2 dismissed a petition filed by the UAW seeking a union election among 1,800 teaching and research assistants at New York University, finding that current Board precedent that graduate students are not employees under the NLRA’s controlling. It is expected that the UAW will appeal this decision to the full NLRB, which is expected to over rule its prior decisions and find that the teaching and research assistants are employees under federal labor law, and thus eligible to unionize.